The Foundation at 40
To Friends and Supporters of the Army Historical Foundation:
We have often shared with you the earliest origins of the National Museum of the United States Army. For the uninitiated, the Museum was inspired by Bill 46 of the 13th U.S. Congress in 1814, which directed Secretary of War John Armstrong, Jr., to secure the country’s military heritage.
Our nation and Army are indebted to the leaders who foresaw the value of collecting military artifacts more than 200 years ago. However, so much of the credit for the world-class Museum that now holds many of those artifacts goes to the visionaries who established the Army Historical Foundation in 1983.
The early years of the Foundation were led by a small but mighty band of retired Army and civilian leaders, determined to see the idea of a national museum brought to reality. They painstakingly evaluated sixty-four potential sites, faced tough fundraising climates, and encountered repeated bureaucratic roadblocks. Most projects would have conceded to the obstacles and setbacks. Fortunately, the baton of this Museum campaign has been passed from one committed champion to the next for the last four decades, all while supported by a passionate and talented team of professionals and a generous bedrock of supporters.
An even greater testament to this Foundation’s commitment to the preservation and presentation of U.S. Army history is how we expanded our work to fulfill our mission above and beyond the creation of the Museum. As earlier Foundation teams led the Museum campaign, they also developed the Foundation into a member-based organization, orchestrated battle rides, funded artifact restoration projects, and provided grants to other museums that shared our mission. For nearly thirty years, the Foundation has managed a historical inquiry program, providing reliable information on Army history to hundreds of students, reporters, veterans and their relatives, and anyone else seeking information on the history of the Army each year. The Foundation has also developed On Point from a six-page newsletter into a full-color magazine dedicated to the in-depth exploration and analysis of Army history.
Help us continue the treasured work of the Army Historical Foundation for the next forty years as members, financial supporters, and Museum visitors. Together, we will ensure the contributions of the American soldier are appreciated and remembered for decades to come.
Brigadier General Burt Thompson, USA-Ret.